Saturday, November 3, 2018

Andrew Sullivan Loses It; Whatever It Is

As a rule I try to be fair when appraising the work of Andrew Sullivan. At times, he offers cogent analysis of the current political scene. At other times, he goes off the rails… as in the moment when he argued and kept arguing that Sarah Palin’s Down syndrome son was not really hers. Anyone with any knowledge of human reproductive biology would have told him that the odds were far higher that the child was hers than it was her daughter's. Sullivan persisted and compromised a goodly part of his reputation as a thinker.

Be that as it may, Sullivan just joined the glass-half-empty squad, the intrepid band of Trump haters who look at America and see nothing but soulless emptiness. This same squad is comprised of Chicken Littles who keep warning that the sky is falling. Unfortunately, the more you screech about the sky falling-- that is, about how climate change is going to destroy the planet-- the more you have a stake in making it fall. If you predict that the sky is falling and it doesn’t fall, you look like an hysterical fool.

Anyway, Sullivan looks at the current state of America and is quivering in his boots. The horror! The horror!

It is hard to think of a precedent for a president who endorses violence against political foes, sees the Justice Department as his own personal prosecutor, calls the press “the enemy of the people,” tears children from parents, brags of multiple sexual assaults, threatens to lock up his opponents, enthuses about war crimes, “falls in love” with the foulest dictator on the planet, refuses to divest of personal holdings in office, lambastes allies, treats the Treasury as a casino, actively endorses the poisoning of the environment, destabilizes NATO, baits minorities, lies incessantly, and oversees a resurgence of the white nationalist right. Any single gesture in any one of these areas would have been political death for most previous presidents. But we live in a time when we have come to expect that all this can now empower and even reward an American politician, rather than ruin him.

As I said, we are in glass-half-empty-ville. To take a single element in the Sullivanian screed, the endorsement of political violence against one’s opponents, consider that Barack Obama-- you remember him-- told his people to get in the face of the opposition. He told them to punish their enemies. He told them to bring a gun to a knife fight. More recently, his former attorney general, Eric Holder told people to kick their opponents.

As for the matter of sexual assaults, the case of Bill Clinton shows that rape and sexual harassment are not political death for good liberal Democrats. And, should we not note that Sen. Robert Menendez, who will apparently win his election to the senate in New Jersey has been accused of buying the favors of underage prostitutes. A similar, less grave charge, leveled against Roy Moore in Alabama was political death. Trump’s derelictions are not that different from the derelictions of Democrats. The only difference is: he isn’t a Democrat.

And then, of course, Sullivan tries to ascertain why people vote Republican. In the midst of another rant, he says this:

The global pressures that suppress wages are not waning.

It shows what happens when your passions blind you to reality. On the very day that Sullivan shared this piece of propaganda, we learned that America was enjoying unprecedented wage growth. What do you want to bet me that Sullivan has nothing to say about this.

Sullivan is also agitated to see that the Republican Party has become a cult to the persona of Donald Trump. Did he ever consider that the Democratic Party became a cult to the person of Barack Obama? Did he ever notice that Democrats embraced whatever Obama did, good, bad or indifferent? Did he notice that they were willing to overlook whatever lies Obama told, whatever incitement he proposed, whatever investigations into the IRS he squashed, whatever cover-up of Hillary Clinton’s private email server his flunkies countenanced.

No, he did not. The horrors that Sullivan has just seen have been in existence for some time now. Now, however, Sullivan sees a national emergency…. In itself, this hysterical hyperbole should alert us to the fact that he has gotten lost in a miasma of mindless emotion.


Ares Olympus said...

Whatever else the Age of Trump has shown is that WhatAboutism works. You can do anything you like, even grab them by the pussy and they'll let you do it, and if challenged in a vulnerable moment, you just say "What about...?" and the shamefulness of your words or behavior is safely redirected elsewhere, and you're off the hook. And later on, if reminded, you just need to deny you ever said or did anything, especially if there is no visual or audio evidence. This may be a psychological tool of unimaginable power and there is no bottom, no low that we can't go lower.

Anonymous said...

Examples of The average Youtube NeonNazi comments:

"99% of Jews are chosen, chosen for extermination"

"Stalin became woke to the JQ after the war."

"Cancer = Judaism"

"A deliciously addictive genetically modified substance of carbon gassed juice containing grape flavoring that was first introduced to the inner city"

These commenters are people that voted Trump yet Half of Trump's family are Jewish. Oh, the humanity.

Kansas Scout said...

Good post!

Sam L. said...

My money's on Andy's "mind".
" It is hard to think of a precedent for a president who endorses violence against political foes..." Dems are doing that, not Trump.
Sullivan is a Sillyvan. I'm guessing heavy medication and a srait-jacket could do him a LOT of good.

Sam L. said...

Anon at 7:24, could you explain the last three words: "Half of Trump's family is Jewish, if you voted for Trump you should be agrainpest grassing soda."

Anonymous said...

A flailing monkey brings both pleasure and pain.

Sam L. said...

Anon, that's translated from...?

Anonymous said...